Book Review

Fishing For Maui – Isa Pearl Ritchie

Today I want to tell you about a book that has one of the most beautiful covers I have seen this year. I know you aren’t supposed to judge a book by it’s cover, but just look at it!


A novel about food, whānau, and mental illness.

Valerie reads George Eliot to get to sleep – just to take her mind off worries over her patients, her children, their father and the next family dinner. Elena is so obsessed with health, traditional food, her pregnancy and her blog she doesn’t notice that her partner, Malcolm the ethicist, is getting himself into a moral dilemma of his own making. Evie wants to save the world one chicken at a time. Meanwhile her boyfriend, Michael is on a quest to reconnect with his Māori heritage and discover his own identity. Rosa is eight years old and lost in her own fantasy world, but she’s the only one who can tell something’s not right. Crisis has the power to bring this family together, but will it be too late?

“An accomplished story of a family in crisis – Ritchie’s great skill is her ability to conjure the inner lives if her characters. Fishing For Maui is a compassionate meditation on what it means to be well”. – Sarah Jane Barnett

Fishing for Maui - Front - (RGB)


Amazon UK



Fishing for Maui is a tale of a family so caught up in their individual struggles that they fail to see the struggles of those around them. They have become disjointed and instead of leaning on each other just seem to pull further away. As I write this I realise that I am potentially making the characters appear shallow and unlikeable, but this is not the case at all. Isa Pearl Ritchie’s writing draws you in, and her skilled character development really makes you feel as though you are in each of the character’s heads, feeling what they feel. Obviously there will always be characters that you like more than others in a book, but even those who I wasn’t particularly drawn to, I found I was still able to understand what was going on with them, and that for me is a sign of true writing talent.

I really enjoyed finding out more about the Maori creation story, and the traditions and workings of the Maori culture. I love reading about things like that, so it was great to find the little nuggets of information throughout the book. I also liked the inclusion of some of Elena’s blog posts, and I admired her dedication to her beliefs (although it did seem like a lot of trouble for a convenience food loving woman like me, a lot of what she believed actually made quite a bit of sense).

Fishing for Maui is one of those books that, if asked to do so, is tricky to slot nicely into a particular category. It’s also quite hard to find the words to describe it adequately, other than to tell people to read it for themselves because the book is just as good as its cover.


Isa Pearl Ritchie_15

Isa Ritchie is a Wellington-based writer. She grew up as a Pākehā child in a bicultural family and Māori was her first written language. She has completed a PhD on food sovereignty in Aotearoa. She is passionate about food, wellbeing and social justice.





My thanks go to Isa and to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to take part in this blog tour, and for providing me with my copy of the book. If you would like to find out more about Fishing For Maui, why not have a look at the other blogs taking part on the tour.

Fishing for Maui Full Tour Banner

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